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Share and play: what to look for in a quality dock

9 January 2018

Audio docks have been around since the introduction of MP3 players, but what makes a quality modern day dock?

The earlier docks worked by allowing you to plug your iPod or similar gadget into the docking station, playing music through it by manually scrolling to the artist, album or playlist you wanted to listen to.

While impressive at the time, this technology has become outdated in the age of online streaming, which allows the user to beam songs directly from their smartphone or tablet to their speaker system. Docks have since become invaluable hubs for home entertainment, capable of playing any tune we desire with a few simple taps and swipes of a touchscreen device.

But with numerous products available, it’s tricky to know exactly what you’re getting for your money. If you’re struggling to weigh up the pros and cons of various audio systems, keep reading to find out what really matters when choosing a quality dock.

Compatibility is key

The connections available on early audio docks were potentially problematic if you decided to upgrade your gadgets. Choosing a dock with an outdated port meant you’d render it useless as soon as you switched to a more modern device with a different type of connection.

Some docks continue to use this ‘plug in and play’ approach, restricting their use to devices that use the same type of connection. However, the latest generation of speakers and audio hubs are moving on from this limited approach, embracing the revolution of online music streaming by partnering with services such as Spotify and Apple Music.

The Dock E30 from Orbitsound is one such product. By using it in tandem with the dedicated Orbitsound app, you can play songs from your preferred streaming library regardless of which phone or tablet you happen to be using.

Since it’s compatible with both Android and Apple devices, every smartphone-wielding member of your family will be able to take full advantage of the Dock E30’s versatile approach to song selection. You can also charge your devices from it, thanks to the E30’s wireless charging pad and USB-C port. Whilst not a docking port in the traditional sense, the product uses a flexibly designed docking groove which allows almost any device to slide effortlessly into the top of the dock.

Sensational sound

All audio-related gadgets boast proudly about the superior sound quality that they’re able to offer, making it difficult for the consumer to work out which ones really deliver what they promise.

Here’s the truth of the matter: most sound systems use a standard two-speaker, forward-facing stereo set-up. Depending on the placement of the speakers in relation to one another, this can lead to an unbalanced sound. True stereo sound consists of two channels: left and right. In a conventional speaker system, the left channel will play through the left speaker, while the right channel plays through the right. So if you’re sitting closer to the left speaker than the right one, you’ll hear more of the left channel, and miss out on parts of the mix that have been aligned to the right.

Our founder, audio engineer and electronics designer Ted Fletcher, had been frustrated by the limitations of multi-speaker stereo systems throughout his 60-year career in the music industry. That was until he hit upon a crucial discovery in 2005: a way to recreate stereo sound using a single speaker unit, by converting the stereo signal into three channels and firing the soundwaves in all directions to create a consistently balanced sound, no matter where you are in relation to the speakers.

Ted’s invention - Airsound™ - is built into all of our Orbitsound products, including the Dock E30. The result is high-fidelity studio quality sound no matter where you are in your home. Those who prefer their tunes with pounding bass tones can supercharge the Dock E30 with an optional wireless subwoofer, bringing added richness and deep, low end power to your choice of music.

Looks matter

While style over substance is best avoided, there’s no reason why your choice of audio equipment shouldn’t feature the same aesthetic appeal as the rest of your home. The things we choose to fill our homes with often reflect our personalities and tastes; you shouldn’t have to compromise the look and feel of your room in order to enjoy high quality sounds from your audio system.

At Orbitsound, we aim to create products that look as good as they sound. The Dock E30 is a prime example – a light, minimalistic and unobtrusive unit that brings exceptional quality sound to your home without making it look cluttered or requiring a mass of unsightly cables to operate efficiently (thanks in part to its wireless charging capabilities).

With three choices of finish for the docking unit (black, white and bamboo) and the option to personalise its look by switching its removable magnetic grille, the Dock E30 is a truly customisable piece of tech that will look right at home wherever you decide to put it.

So when you’re looking for a new dock speaker system, we hope we’ve given you insight into what is currently possible from these devices so you know what to look for in the best of the best.

If you feel like our Dock E30 might be the ideal speaker system for you, then feel free to check out it’s pre-launch product page here. We can’t wait to introduce it to you!

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